Unhappy with independent news reports publishing unfavourable news reports on the government, Law Minister K Shanmugam told Parliament yesterday (Apr 3) that he will make the 3 most popular non-government websites – States Times Review, All Singapore Stuff and The Online Citizen – “feel the pain”:
“Those who deliberately spread falsehoods about the police and other public institutions will soon be taken to task. The time has come for us not to simply rebut, but to actively deal with it, so that the people who seek to profit from such conduct will actually feel the pain of it. We are looking at it and something will be done.”
Aside from singling out States Times Review and All Singapore Stuff, Minister K Shanmugam also named news website The Online Citizen (TOC) as a fake news site running down the Singapore police with untrue stories:
“Sociopolitical website The Online Citizen (TOC) in particular glorifies in running the police down with a series of untrue stories”, and cited a recent instance where it falsely alleged that police officers had accused a wheelchair user of motorcycle theft.”
However, in that particular case Minister K Shanmugam mentioned, TOC was sharing an allegation made from a relative of the wheelchair user and that the government did not respond despite being approached for comments.
The Law Minister then went on rambling about his excuse to clamp down on police critics and even claimed that the Singapore Police has a “enormous reservoir of trust” among Singaporeans:
“What is objectionable are deliberate falsehoods. If there is no wrongdoing or misconduct and you deliberately accuse to pull down the institution by manufacturing lies, and if public trust in police is eroded and they can no longer enforce rule of law effectively, all of us will be the worse for it. A recent public perception survey showed that over 9 in 10 people said the police demonstrated core values of courage, loyalty and integrity. This has led to an enormous reservoir of trust.”